The CoachVille Story
Thomas Leonard – one of two people acknowledged as the founders of the Professional Coaching Field (along with Laura Whitworth) – founded CoachVille in 2000 with the mission to improve the quality of coaching worldwide.
CoachVille launched as a global virtual community for coaches on June 2, 2001, founded by the late visionary Thomas J. Leonard, acknowledged as a central figure in the creation of the field of personal and business coaching. Its mission… to improve the quality of coaching worldwide, and to provide a home for every coach.
Its guiding principle: “Adding Value for the Joy of It.” Thomas lived his words, and while in its early days, CoachVille membership was $79 for a lifetime, on August 29th, 2001 the doors to CoachVille were thrown wide open, and membership became free for all who wished to join the growing ranks of CoachVille coaches.
Thomas felt that “Everyone is a Coach.” Not a professional coach perhaps, but certainly a coach in the way they support others.
Thomas felt that coaching is a set of advanced communication and relating skills, with knowledge and experience woven in.
“Our best guess is that the greatest source of growth in coaching is actually in the non-professional sector, meaning that managers become more coach-like in their dealings, ministers weave in coaching skills to their professional skill set, even accountants round out their style to including a coaching approach.”
Within its first 100 days, CoachVille grew to become the largest network of coaches worldwide, reaching 5,300 members. Currently CoachVille membership stands at 34,000+ with members in 175+ countries.
Later in 2001 we launched our first Coach Training program – the Graduate School of Coaching- with a few BIG ideas:
1) That anyone with the right personal character and strong desire could become an effective Coach very quickly.
2) To create the most cutting edge curriculum and learning environment.
3) To create a school that would evolve as fast as humans do – which was pretty FAST!
Since that time we have trained over 4,000 coaches and our training has evolved into the program you are reading about right now.
Thomas passed the torch over to Coach Dave Buck in 2003 when he died suddenly and tragically from a Heart Attack.
Coach Dave has focused on creating a “methods-based” approach to coaching AND infusing everything we do and teach with the Spirit of Play!
While “the Graduate School of Coaching” was a cool name, it also implied that it was only for experienced coaches. So, in 2006, we renamed the school, The Center for Coaching Mastery, so that folks would know that our school was appropriate for new coaches AND master coaches.
Even though Thomas founded the ICF in the later years of his life he was frustrated by it’s bureaucracy and resisted pursuing ICF accreditation for our school. Coach Dave, while no fan of bureaucracy himself, recognized the importance of creating a global standard that was based on collective wisdom and not based on the ideology of any one individual. So he decided to bring CoachVille into the ICF fold – yes, Thomas’ ashes were probably swirling around in agitation – because it was the right thing to do for the field as a whole.
Dave was acknowledged by the ICF with a Global Peacemaker award at the 2004 ICF Conference. In 2007, after 3 years of very intense focus, our school achieved ICF accreditation. Yeah Team!